Scheduling

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In this chapter we will learn several techniques how to schedule activities and how to move, delete and edit already scheduled cells.

Note: The screenshots in this chapter demonstrate the most basic activities' list configuration. To learn how to create activities and configure the activities' list, please read the Activities chapter first.

Contents

Scheduling New Cells

A Cell is a scheduled occurrence of an activity. This section describes various methods of scheduling new cells.

How to schedule a single occurrence of an activity?

An occurrence of an activity on a specific day and time means that all the activity's resources are booked at that time. A cell will appear in all their schedules with the details of that particular activity.

File:drag_drop_scheduling_studio8.png

To schedule a single occurrence of an activity, you need to drag it (using the mouse) from the list of activities to the main schedule and drop it at the desired time. Let's go over the exact steps:

  1. The first step is to place the mouse cursor over the leftmost column in the activities' list - the column which displays the activity's color. Notice how the mouse cursor turns into a hand cursor:
    File:drag_and_drop_step1_studio8.png
  2. Now press the left mouse button and keep holding it pressed. This begins the drag-and-drop operation. You will see the activity's dragged cell appear underneath the mouse cursor:
    File:drag_and_drop_step2_studio8.png
  3. Once you begin the drag-and-drop, the main schedule window will display what is called the conflict prediction stripes. These colored stripes inform you on which days and times the activity's resources are free (green), double booked (yellow) or blocked (red). This information helps you determine where you can drop the activity without causing any conflicts.
    File:drag_and_drop_step3_studio8.png
  4. Now that you are in the midst of the drag-and-drop, and you are holding down the mouse button, move the mouse cursor over and above the main schedule window. You will see a cell that follows the mouse anywhere you move it. When you are satisfied with the target cell's position, release the mouse button. That will schedule the activity and conclude the drag and drop operation.
    File:drag_and_drop_step4_studio8.png
How to schedule a recurring activity?

Institutions which create a schedule in which each date in the calendar can have different scheduled activities (as opposed to a generic weekly schedule which as a whole repeats itself every week) often use a per-activity recurrence pattern to define when each activity takes place. An example of such a pattern is an activity which occurs from October 1st to December 31st only on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:00 till 10:00 AM. By defining the recurrence pattern an activity can be scheduled on many occurrences in a single operation.

File:activity_recurring_pattern_studio8.png

The first step to define a recurrence pattern is to select the activity in the list. The Properties pane will then display the properties of that activity and at the bottom you will find an item named Recurrence Pattern. Expand that item by clicking the small plus button to the left of it. You will see the following fields:

File:time_range_properties8.png

Not all these fields need to filled because some of them are interchangeable (you can even disable the fields which you don't need in the Institution pane's Properties page). Here is the meaning of each field:

  • Semester - This field is useful only when a single file contains multiple semesters. When it does, this field specifies which semester(s) an activity belongs to.
  • Weeks – This is a field which can be used to specify the weeks on which an activity is scheduled. They can be either generic weeks or calendar weeks. You can switch between the two types of weeks using the two tabs at the bottom of the popup window: "Weeks" and "Calendar". When you need to select multiple weeks in the "Calendar" tab, use the Ctrl key on the keyboard for multiple selection. If you fill in this field, you should also fill in the "Days of Week" field to specify on which weekdays exactly to schedule the activity.
  • Days – Here you can specify the exact days (generic) or dates (calendar) on which to schedule the activity. Use the two tabs: "Days", "Calendar" at the bottom of the popup window to toggle between generic or calendar days. If you use this field, there is no need to fill in the "Days of Week" field because using this field you specify the days explicitly.
  • Start Date and End Date – These two fields can be used instead of the Weeks and Days fields to specify a range of calendar dates. If you fill in this range, you should also use fill in the "Days of Week" field to narrow down the range to specific weekdays.
  • Days of Week – Use this field to specify on which weekdays to schedule the activity.
  • Periods – If your time scale defines periods, use this field to specify on which periods to schedule the activity.
  • Start Time and End Time – The activity will be scheduled at this time and with this duration repeatedly during the entire recurrence time range.
How to schedule the activity after filling in the recurrence pattern?

Important: Filling in the above properties does not schedule the activity yet. To actually schedule it, you must click the link "Schedule recurrently" which is located at the bottom of the recurrence pattern:

File:schedule_in_time_range8.png

How to schedule all activities according to their recurrence pattern?

If you have multiple activities selected in the activities' list, clicking the "Schedule recurrently" link schedules all the selected activities - each according to its recurrence pattern. So to schedule the entire list of activities in this way, you need to first select them all (by selecting the first and then selecting the last while holding down Shift on the keyboard or just by press Ctrl+A on the keyboard) and then click "Schedule recurrently".

How to schedule the same activity using another recurrence pattern?

Suppose you would like to schedule the same activity in a range of 3 months but on Mondays from 9:00 to 10:00 whereas on Tuesdays from 10:00 to 11:00. In this situation you should repeat the above process twice. First, fill in the Mondays' recurrence pattern, type start and end times 9:00 to 10:00 and click the link "Schedule recurrently". Afterwards, change the recurrence pattern to Tuesdays, type the new start and end times: 10:00 and 11:00 and click the link "Schedule recurrently" again. That's it. Notice how the recurrence pattern in itself is meaningless unless you click the link "Schedule recurrently". After you click the link and the activity gets scheduled, changing the recurrence pattern does not have any effect on the already scheduled cells of the activity.

Note: If you need to "preserve" both recurrence patterns as part of the activity (have them saved and remembered by the software), you must create a duplicate activity (using copy/paste) because an activity saves only the last recurrence pattern that you filled. So if you have two activities, each can hold a different recurrence pattern.

How to reschedule the activity using a different recurrence pattern?

To reschedule the activity, you need to click the link "Delete all cells" to delete the existing cells of the activity, then fill in the new recurrence pattern and then click the "Schedule recurrently" link to apply the new pattern.

How to schedule a one-time activity?

There is a comfortable way to both create and schedule a new activity in a single operation, which we have not mentioned so far. This is especially useful for scheduling one-time activities (activities which have a single occurrence) because it does not require the activity to be entered in advance in the activities' list (like you normally do with planned activities). Instead, it is created on-the-fly and scheduled immediately thereafter.

To create and schedule a new activity in this manner, first you need to select an empty range of cells in some resource's schedule - that would be the time range in which the new activity is going to be scheduled. Once you do that, the Properties pane will display the properties of a New Cell:

File:new_cell_properties_studio8.png

All you have to do now is pick a Subject in the Properties pane:

File:new_cell_select_subject_studio8.png

By picking a subject you are creating a new activity which involves two resources: the resource whose schedule you now see on screen and the subject that you have just selected. This activity will immediately be scheduled in the selected time range. It will also be automatically added to the activities' list. In addition, the new cell's properties will be displayed in the Properties pane, where you can continue to fill in the other resources of the cell. For example, you can choose a room, add a note etc.

File:new_cell_scheduled_studio8.png

How to schedule optional resources?

Reminder: As we have explained before, when an activity is created with a list of optional resources, each cell of the activity can have a different chosen resource (or several chosen resources). For example, if an activity has 3 possible rooms in which it can be scheduled, 3 occurrences of the activity can be each held in a different room. As you remember, the optional resources were selected by switching from "All the selected resources" to "Any of the selected resource" at the bottom of the popup list in which you select the activity's resources.

Now, when an activity has a list of optional resources, scheduling the activity leaves the cell in a sort of unfinished state because a vital resource is still missing and needs to be chosen. The program will highlight the missing resource with a red background after scheduling the activity, like this:

File:cell_choose_room_studio8.png

The actual choice of a resource is done in the Properties pane. The program will display the missing resource in red there too (with a question mark, e.g. "Room?"). When you are choosing a resource, the program helps you by showing which resources are free with green stripes near their names:

File:cell_choose_room_free_rooms_studio8.png

After choosing the resource, the cell will display its name and the red warning will disappear:

File:cell_chosen_room_studio8.png

How to schedule an activity using copy/paste?

Another way of scheduling one or more occurrences of an activity is simply by using copy/paste. The process is simple: you select an activity in the list, copy it, then select a time range in the main schedule and paste. Let's demonstrate.

First, select an activity by clicking it. Then, click the Copy icon in the right hand side toolbar, or press Ctrl+C on the keyboard:

File:copy_activity_for_scheduling_studio8.png

The next step is to select the time range in which the activity will be pasted. You can select a time range which includes more than one day or you can paste on each day separately.

File:select_time_range_for_scheduling_studio8.png

Finally, click the Paste icon in the left hand side toolbar, or press Ctrl+V on the keyboard:

File:paste_for_scheduling_studio8.png

Working With Existing Cells

This section describes how to move scheduled cells, duplicate them and resize them.

How to move a cell?

Moving of cells is also accomplished using drag and drop. However, it requires that a cell be selected prior to moving it.

  1. A cell is selected simply by clicking it:
    File:select_cell_studio8.png
  2. When a cell is selected, you will see a small tab appearing at its top left corner. This tab is very important because that is where you need to place the mouse cursor in order to move the cell. When the mouse is above the tab, the cursor will change into a hand cursor and when it does, it means that you can start dragging the cell:
    File:drag_cell_up_studio8.png
  3. To start dragging, press the mouse button and hold it pressed. You will see that the schedule displays the colored conflict prediction stripes just like it did when you were dragging an activity.
    File:drag_cell_down_studio8.png
  4. Move the mouse over to the destination time and release the mouse button to complete the operation.
    File:drag_cell_drop_studio8.png
How to copy a cell?

Just like you can move a cell using drag and drop, you can duplicate it. To accomplish this, just hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard while you are dragging the cell. You will see that the old cell remains in place and a new cell which is a duplicate of the original cell is the one being moved around when you are dragging:

File:ctrl_cell_copying_studio8.png

Tip: You can speed up the process of scheduling the same activity on multiple occurrences using this Ctrl key technique. Remember that the first time you drag-and-drop an activity, you start from the Activities pane which resides at the right corner of the screen. The second time, however, you no longer need to go back to the Activities pane to drag-and-drop it. What you can do instead, is just hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and duplicate the previous cell that you have scheduled. If you do it like this, you don't have to travel a long distance with the mouse back and forth to the Activities pane.

How to resize a cell?

If you hold down the Shift key on the keyboard while dragging a time marker up or down, the cell itself will be resized. For example, if you select a cell which is scheduled from 8:30 to 11:05, hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and drag the bottom time marker down, the cell will start to increase in length to 11:10, 11:15, etc.

File:shift_cell_resizing_studio8.png

How to delete cells?

The deletion of cells is quite straightforward. What's selected is what will be deleted. Once you have selected the cell(s) to delete, press the Delete button on the keyboard or click the "X" button in the left toolbar and the cell will be deleted. Remember that you can always un-delete it using the Undo button.

File:delete_cells_studio8.png

What's also worth emphasizing is the ability to delete partial cells. Remember that the time markers that appear next to the selected cell allow you to change the selected time frame. If you move the top marker down or the bottom marker up, only a fraction of the cell will become selected. At this point, if you press the Delete button, only that fraction of the cell will be deleted. The remaining part(s) will be left as they were.